Sugar Bears defeat Little Rock and UAPB in Tiger Brawl

Memphis– The Sugar Bears got off to a good start in Memphis at the Tiger Brawl against state foe Little Rock. With the Trojans leading 6-3 early on, the Sugar Bears fired up and went 11 unanswered points to comfortably control the first set, 14-6. The Trojans will try to come back in the game, but the Sugar Bears never gave in, winning the first set by a score of 25-16. The first game was completely a team effort, no UCA player had stunning stats in the first set, but the six on the court put in an incredible effort, allowing UCA to take an early lead .

The Trojans had better luck in the second set, but the Sugar Bears still found an answer. UCA once again found themselves in front early, forcing Little Rock to take a time out with the Sugar Bears leading 9-6. The Sugar Bears then took a 16-9 lead before Little Rock launched their own run to make it a 16-14 game. UCA dug deep and responded with a 3-0 run capped by a Lexie Gregory ace, forcing another timeout from Little Rock. First-year student Alexis McDaniel was crucial in the streak, throwing back-to-back aces that helped the Sugar Bears wrap up the second set, 25-18.

UCA were hoping to delay this match by two sets, and to do that they would need a strong start again. UCA didn’t retire early, but they hung on and eventually found themselves with a 13-6 lead and forced Little Rock into a timeout. Coming out of the break, Little Rock made a 4-0 run which UCA countered with a 7-0 run to make it 21-12. The Trojans and Sugar Bears traded points until finally the Sugar Bears emerged victorious at 25-17.

Second year Lily Taylor continues to be strong this season, as she led the Sugar Bears with 7 wins. Alexis McDaniel and Lexie Gregory each had 3 aces, and Marissa McKelvey had 26 assists in the game.

For the second game of the evening, the Sugar Bears faced Memphis. Trailing by a few points, the Sugar Bears had a rough start to the first set but never let Memphis get too far ahead. The Sugar Bears surrendered the first set to Memphis, giving them a 1-0 lead. Mackenzie Vernon led with 4 kills for the first set.

In the second set, the Sugar Bears started strong with a 3-0 lead to start the set. Both teams took turns earning points until Memphis went 4-0 to make it 8-11. The Sugar Bears lost their momentum and Memphis won the second set 15-25.

In the third set, the Sugar Bears battled to stay a point or two behind Memphis, eventually tying the set 19-19. After bouncing points back and forth, Memphis took the lead and won the third set 23-25.

The Sugar Bears faced their final opponent of the tournament Saturday morning for the 9:00 a.m. game. In set 1, Arkansas-Pine Bluff got off to a good start, making it 8-3 by Central Arkansas’ timeout. The Sugar Bears gathered momentum and tied the set 10-10 after a 3-0 run and took the lead to continue that 5-0 run to make it 10-12. The Sugar Bears kept their momentum going and in the next Arkansas-Pine Bluff timeout, UCA led 14-20. The Sugar Bears win the set 16-25 after four Sugar Bears are killed by Kendall Haywood and Allison Holloway and two killed by Lily Taylor.

In the second set, the Sugar Bears kept the momentum going with a 3-0 point streak with two service aces by Lexie Gregory. In an Arkansas-Pine Bluff timeout, the Sugar Bears took a 9-14 lead after a Mackenzie Vernon kill. The Sugar Bears won the second set with a score of 17-25. Caylan Koon and Mackenzie Vernon scored the final two runs with Sugar Bear kills.

In the third set, the Sugar Bears started strong and kept their momentum going with a 9-0 run for a 7-16 lead over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The included rally kills by April Conant, Jamiryana Halland Mackenzie Vernon. The Sugar Bears continued strong and won the set 18-25 with a Lily Taylor kill and secured the game 3-0.

The Sugar Bears travel to Jacksonville, Alabama for their next ASUN conference game with Jacksonville State on Friday, September 23 at 6:00 p.m.

Follow the Sugar Bears on Twitter @ucavball

Rachel J. Bradford